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No quarantine for travellers arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China

No quarantine for travellers arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China

A child plays in front of a view of the Hong Kong skyline on Jul 13, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

HONG KONG: Travellers arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China will no longer need to quarantine, Hong Kong’s top official said on Tuesday (Sep 7), easing curbs imposed after summer outbreaks of COVID-19 on the mainland.

Starting on Wednesday, people who haven't been to medium- or high-risk areas on the mainland or Macao can enter the city, capped at 2,000 travellers daily, chief executive Carrie Lam said in a news conference.

Travellers will still need a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival and must take several tests while in Hong Kong to ensure they're not infected.

Hong Kong halted quarantine-free travel in early August and imposed a mandatory quarantine period of seven or 14 days, depending on the traveller's vaccination status.

Hong Kong’s “zero-COVID” strategy has seen authorities impose strict border restrictions and ban flights from extremely high-risk countries, in the hopes that no local community spread would allow it to reopen borders with mainland China.

Currently, China has strict border restrictions that allow only Chinese nationals or those with valid residence permits and visas to enter the country, and all travellers are required to quarantine for at least 14 days.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, most Hong Kong residents haven't been able to freely enter mainland China.

Restrictions will ease further next Wednesday, when mainland residents will be able to enter the city without quarantine via the Shenzhen Bay port and via the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge, capped at 1,000 visitors each, Lam said.

These visitors will also need to test negative before travelling.

The changes, part of the “Come2HK” plan announced last week, are expected to boost the city’s tourism industry, which took a beating during months of political strife in 2019 and pandemic-related border restrictions.

Tourist numbers fell by as much as 99 per cent in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

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Source: AP/kg

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